good cop – bad cop

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good cop – bad cop

Excerpt from an email (from a Partner in a large Accounting Firm.)

.. client has paid part of this Invoice (total was $9,800 + gst). Jane is not happy with amount, we have provided a break-up of our time & costs & invoices for 2 disbursements within the invoice. Client has only paid what she thinks the wk to be worth & we are still negotiating. Any tips or suggestions gratefully received.


Our Reply

Initial Thoughts:
Are you 100% happy that the charges can be justified?

If there is any doubt at all, a reduction of some sort could be considered.
Suggested Strategy
Good Cop – Bad Cop is always a good ploy.
In this case, a third party (Kym or Anthea) who has absolutely no knowledge of (or emotional connection with) the work that was done would be the best person to contact the client. The client is more likely to be very frank about their concerns with an “uninterested” third party. There can be no argument about what was or wasn’t done, simply because, they don’t know!

Ignorance (of the work done) is Power.
What a third party can do that you cannot do is ask for more and more details,
more and more criticism, without going into defensive mode. Simply because the third party won’t start defending the work. They can’t. They don’t know what was done! Nor do they need to.

They do, however, need to get the information. All of the clients “venom” if you will. Once armed with the knowledge, a sensible, logical and commercially realistic decision can be made by the person (you) that did do the work.

Just a thought. But it normally works. Simply because, no emotion or pride in work done is involved. Just facts and information gained from which a logical “next course of action” decision can be made.

Hope that helps.
Let me know?

Michael Todd.



Kym called. Client was not happy. Told Kym specifically what her problems were. Kym emailed the Partner. He, in turn, emailed the client. An agreement was reached. A slightly reduced amount was paid. Client and Partner now both very happy with the outcome and their business relationship is intact. Perhaps stronger. He knew what she said. She knows he knows what she said. If he’d called to discuss the situation, however, it would have become “personal” and uncomfortable for both.

Apply Principle #2 – Always Be The Good Guy. ALWAYS works. It saves “face” for both parties (Creditor and Debtor); allows the debtor to retain his pride and have his say. To vent his feelings.

By | 2017-07-18T03:00:32+00:00 January 20th, 2009|case studies|0 Comments

About the Author:

Have you ever wondered why a client does business with you and then ignores your invoice like they had no intention of paying it in the first place or they treat you like their own personal line of credit, leaving YOU dangling, waiting months for their payment? Unfortunately this situation is all too common and can even be puzzling for the most experienced business owner. If you’ve ever had to handle outstanding accounts or you are just so over non-payers, then we can help. Real-world skills, solutions, tips & strategies to get more accounts paid on time, and, most importantly, how to maintain customer goodwill while keeping YOUR cash flow in the positive. You will find the blog posts helpful but to get real results, contact us by using any of the forms on this site, by email or by phone. I’ve been involved in the management of accounts for over 30 years, heard every excuse in the book, can spot a non-payer at 20 paces. Finance Companies in the 70s (systematic, tough), professional firms in the 80s (no systems, too gentle) and, since then, just about every other sort of business you can think of. I’ve written books on the topic, spoken all over the place about it and the blog in this website is my way of “giving back”. I hope you find it helpful.

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